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In a recent report by eMarketer, it is forecasted that marketers in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries will spend $1.64 billion on paid online and mobile advertising in 2015, up from $1.43 billion in 2014. Those dollars are split fairly evenly between direct response and brand awareness campaigns, with 56% of their digital advertising dollars on ads that are meant to drive a conversion event and 44% on ads that have a branding-based objective.

 

Content, Context, or Audience?

Regardless of what a marketer’s campaign goal is, they are focused on who, specifically, they are reaching. While content, context, and sites are important, in today’s consumer-driven world, identifying and reaching the right individuals and maintaining a consistent dialogue with them across all channels is paramount.  Through programmatic buying, companies have access to an open marketplace for buying and selling of media in real time. The auction-based, automated transactions also enable marketers to apply the data available to them and hone in on the individual most likely to help them move towards their desired goal. Campaigns are set up taking into account hundreds of parameters, sites, search terms, and more, and can be evaluated and optimized in real time. Programmatic not only adds tremendous efficiency and scale, but allows marketers to minimize budget waste and maximize the return on their investment. BIG-PHARMA.jpg

 

This is a challenge for pharmaceutical marketers, however, because they need to know exactly what they are buying, where their ad will appear, and what commitments can be guaranteed on their exposure levels and budgeted prices for their inventory. Pharmaceutical marketers are trying to reach their target, at scale, to make the best use of their digital investments because there’s a limited and costly health inventory.  And they must do this while creating a brand safe environment and achieving FDA, FTC, and HIPAA regulatory compliance. But with the right support, buying can occur over known and approved white list sites which will assure ads don’t show up in random locations on the web that are potentially problematic for the brand.

 

Brands, Agencies, and Technology

Tools like MediaMath enable organizations to optimize and activate their media buying through 1st and 3rd party data across channels like social, video, and ads. As a hub for digital media buying, MediaMath is an open, extensible  platform powered by an algorithm for which the decisioning and outputs are  is transparent to marketers.

 

Pharmaceutical companies, like many marketers, are also looking to balance the relationship with their agencies and technology partners.  Marketers are seeking more control and transparency over the digital media buying, but instead of posing a threat to agencies, MediaMath firmly believes there is a tremendous opportunity for agencies to fuel programmatic strategy, share visibility into campaign insights and data analytics with their advertiser clients, and work efficiently unison.

 

Do This Next

As pharmaceutical marketers take a more patient-centric approach, ad spend will continue to increase. But with that increase in spend comes a demand for increased understanding. Pharma has a lot of data; they just don’t know how to harness it yet. Pharma ad buyers must become more comfortable with testing. They need to look at what their audience is looking at. They must analyze current channels and create alignment. They can’t view each channel as a separate strategy. They must outline awareness and recognition, presentation and diagnosis, treatment selection, therapy selection and access, and persistency and advocacy, and then document which channels apply at each stage to create look-a-like models with this information.

 

And Then Ask Yourself This

Lastly, as companies evaluate programmatic digital ads, they should answer the following questions.

  1. What marketing technology are we currently using?
  2. What are our goals?  Conversion rate?  Brand awareness?  In-store purchases?  HCP requests and resulting scripts?
  3. What are our desired outcomes?
  4. What data can we currently access?
  5. How much paid media are we executing?
  6. How are we currently transacting with publishers?
  7. How are we using video?
  8. How are you using social?
  9. How are we targeting at the audience level?

 

As seen from the projected digital ad spends, pharmaceutical marketers will increase ad spend across digital channels. And with that increased spend pharmaceutical companies must partner with organizations that can appropriately target media buying, drive the desired awareness and conversion outcomes, and leverage all channel and technology platforms.

 

How are you focusing your efforts on goals, instead of guesses?

We all know that marketing's primary objective is to assist in driving revenue.  But for many life sciences companies that becomes secondary because of competing projects and constantly managing through the compliance minefield.


Many organizations are also implementing new sales processes and working with marketing and sales organizations with low tenure.  Life Sciences marketers struggle to support multiple brands and sales organizations efficiently. Marketers often become reactive to the needs of their teams and sales organizations are tied to the pace of the marketing department.  Marketing needs to become agile and proactive in the support, education, and enablement of their sales teams.


At PharmaForce 2015 I facilitated a series of roundtable discussions on prescribing alignment across pharmaceutical marketing and sales organizations.  There were several alignment challenges defined, but several organizations have begun implementing programs to reduce those hurdles.  CNVYAH1UwAASj9J.jpg

 

Balancing Strategy, Tactics, and Data

Marketers participating in the roundtable discussions recognized that their understanding of field sales tactics was limited. Sales raises ad hoc issues, and marketing applies band-aids to those pains, but there are still disconnects. One marketer stated “We should be concentrating on Blue Ocean Strategy, but traditionally, this industry doesn’t take that approach.”


The recommendation usually suggested in these situations is “consult the data”.  But data is often a challenge contributor.  These pharmaceutical companies have too much information today. There’s a data overload and it is paralysis by analysis.  “We can tell what a doctor is having for breakfast” said one marketer in jest. 


Several organizations have started to pull from back from what’s delivered, and are now focusing on how it’s delivered.  As marketers are discovering, sales doesn’t need every data point.  Marketers must consult with sales to understand what information is needed to conduct an onsite or virtual detail.  Marketing must also provided justification for the “why” behind the marketing programs. It’s important for sales to understand why more expensive marketing programs are allocated to those HCPs who are more engaged.  But the delivery of information needs to be more organized.


One participant said “We need to focus on the process.  The process needs to change in order for us to get content that makes sense.  We need a more cross-functional date.  We need timelines to match with product launches and we need to know the risks before we launch.”


Likewise, marketing needs to embrace the feedback of sales.  One sales executive has found success in content co-development with marketing.  “We have good collaboration with content development.  When sales needs information or new content, we give that feedback to marketing and they take it seriously.  When sales teams advise marketing on an idea, they’re good at bringing these ideas to life.  Some of our most successful campaigns have been 1 min e-detailing videos on disease stages.”

 

Recruitment Gaps

The pharmaceutical industry has historically promoted sales reps into marketing roles so they can get a feel for what it’s like to work on content.  Other companies only promote marketing from within. “We don’t want to have inside-the-box thinkers.  It’s not the best thinking and it doesn’t provide forward movement for our organization or for the industry.” 

Some marketing organizations are now recruiting outside of the industry.  Hiring people with no pharmaceutical experience, but with a proven marketing track record, delivers a new and fresh perspective.  Cross-industry pollination also allows for the introduction of marketing programs and tactics that have worked in retail, financial services, or even sports entertainment, but haven’t been tested in pharma.


A marketing executive volunteered that they brought an outside person in to evaluate, improve, and execute product launch marketing. This new hire had no pharmaceutical experience and, therefore, was comfortable pushing back on the plans and trying something different. 

 

Customer Definition

One thing that marketing and sales have in common is the customer. But as one attendee pointed out, the problem is that the customer is different for sales and marketing.  Sales people are interacting with people that marketing is not targeting.  Often the customer for sales is the HCP and the customer for marketing is the patient. Because of this, sales and marketing objectives aren’t aligned. 


To overcome this, marketing and sales are meeting together to bring the customer (both definitions of the customer) into the conversation.  They work to not just talk internally among each other, but also reach out to customers to understand what they need and what they want to see.  They solicit input from all parties to drive customer alignment from the beginning.   Marketing commits to spending time in the field for a minimum of two days each month. Sales commits to post-analysis after field engagements and at the conclusion of marketing programs.


These exercises and commitments allow teams to align objectives while putting the customer at the center.  Sales and marketing are committed to aligning with what the customer wants, not what they think is best.

 

Change Management

At the conclusion of the roundtables I asked; “is this an alignment issue, or a change management issue?”  The consensus was change management.  As one participant stated; “I think of inertia.  The approach is “this is the way it’s done, so we’re sticking to it.” Compliance piles on other change management challenges.  Said one person “No one wants to be the lone gunman with the great new idea that could potentially get us in legal trouble.” Fear oftentimes prohibits advancement.


It’s very difficult to influence change.  External forces are often needed to affect change. The development and implementation of these programs will only be successful if the organization buys in. And when we think of change management, we tend to think that this must come from the top.  In truth, change management starts with Human Resources. If you have an HR team that can recruit the right individuals with the right mindset, then change will occur naturally.

 

“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.  For the reformer has enemies in all who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who profit by the new order.  This lukewarmness arises partly from fear of their adversaries, who have law in their favor and partly from their incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have actual experience of it.”

  • Machieavelli

 

Do you find your marketing and sales alignment issues are similar, or different?  What programs have you employed to solve alignment issues?

Did you know that $38 billion in branded drugs faced generic copies in 2013, and $142 billion was lost to patent protection by 2014?  Did you also know that drug manufacturers face 80% of revenue loss after the first year of generics?  According to EyeforPharma’s recently published industry health check report, 85% of respondents agree that patient-centricity is the best route for future profitability. With the lifetime value of brands decreasing, and the importance of patient-centricity increasing, how can pharmaceutical companies balance the brand-patient methods?

 

I reached out to Chris Cullmann, SVP Engagement Strategy at Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, to understand how he advises top healthcare organizations in the practices of brand engagement.

 

Pharma is recognizing the need to place additional focus on the patient. How should companies balance brand and patient engagement, and how do the two compliment each other? 1300179.jpg

Pharmaceutical companies need to begin using digital channels, and that data, to help focus where they’re serving their messages.  They must also ensure that they are being sensitive to how a patient or a healthcare professional is going to engage, and what value is being delivered to them.

 

Pharma also needs to practice general sensitivity to people’s health and understand where they have the permission, and authority, to enter into that conversation. They’re not invited into all those conversations.  When considering the data, companies need to pause and ask, before including their brand in the conversation; “is this really a space that we’re going to be welcome?  Is this fertile ground for us to really have a dialogue about our brand?”

 

That’s the lens companies need to begin to look through when building communication strategies and tactical development.

 

 

The trend across pharma is “thinking beyond the pill” and really defining value. What recommendations do you have for pharmaceutical companies developing a focus on the value they offer for their patients? How can these companies begin to define what that value actually is?

I think for different brands that’s a different response. If we look at an oncology brand, you could have a physician who’s prescribing an oncology product which is incredibly beneficial, but may also have very bad side effects. It may be quite a challenge for the patients to be on the drug, but remain compliant. What does it look like when they begin to have that communication with the physician about the choices they’re making in regards to prescribing it?  Not only is it standard of care, but is there going to be coverage? Is this part of the practice’s regiment of prescribing drugs?

 

But also look at it from the patient’s perspective, where a lot of these conversations happen around value.   Companies must define how they begin to help the patient understand what those side effects are, and why they’re present, and why compliance is so important.  They must identify how to have those conversations with the caregivers who are caring for a patient, loved one, family member, or a spouse.

 

These patients and caregivers are online, searching for answers, finding advocacy groups, and discovering the brand.com. Pharmaceutical companies must begin to help curate this information.  But companies must understand what they have the authority and permission to speak about. Healthcare brands must know they can own the conversation around their drugs.

 

What’s the product, what are the side effects, how do we support the patients?

How do we actually have communications? What does pill-plus look like? When you move past pill schedulers, apps, and compliance tools, what do those campaigns look like? What does that communication look like and what does that core value look like when it goes back out to the patients and healthcare professionals?  Companies must also define what actually happens when a patient has been engaged with the brand and travels through the patient journey.

 

But what happens when patients and healthcare professionals proactively reach out? Outside of personal communication, where you have a rep involved, what are those channels where physicians and patients can begin to interact with the pharmaceutical company to really get answers to questions? Many healthcare companies have fully established call-in numbers that are staffed with nurses and category experts.   But how do companies move beyond those phone numbers into the modern paradigm of communication, where it’s social, two-way communication via chat, or email where you’re going to reach a brand expert and have that dialogue happen in a very quick turnaround?

 

 

What recommendations would you give companies about providing the right message at the right time, with the right tone?

Search, both paid and organic fills in this gap especially well. The right message at the right time and the right tone can be fulfilled by a landing page and search strategy.  One of the things the life sciences industry doesn’t do well is set up landing page architectures that really begin to look at answering questions as people key them into search.  Technology has trained the user, patient, and healthcare professional, to use semantic search, and just ask questions, both in a browser and through voice search.  There’s a lot of opportunity in serving up those responses to the audiences. 

 

This is an opportunity to be there when the user searches, both through paid and organic search, but then retargeting that person to make sure that you’ve answered those questions and haven’t missed the opportunity for engagement.  Whether they’re a payer, a healthcare professional, or a caregiver, they are someone who is wandering, looking for information. Companies must reach out to this person in innovative ways; through display advertisements, picking the person up again in an app inside of another channel, a podcast, website, even personal communication where it’s pertinent.

 

 

With the recommendations that you’ve just defined, how do you recommend these pharmaceutical companies approach the use of social media to deliver, measure, and evolve the message that they’re trying to communicate?

I might point to a program like Gilenya.  They’re actually identifying patients who are hand-raisers and identifying themselves as suffers from the disease.  Novartis is proactively reaching out to them and using an 800-number in order to pull them into a channel, which they already have a very rich architecture and ecosystem to engage with the patient, and fully support them.  It’s an excellent example of using multiple channels to be proactive and treat the patient.  

 

Conducting outreach as a response to data is another example of how companies can begin to use not only social media, but digital media in order to make those decisions.  Companies think physicians put on a lab coat and stop being consumers.  A common objection to social media is “healthcare professionals aren’t talking about patients on social media”. And from a HIPAA compliance standpoint, that’s true.  But must career professionals don’t go home at night and start Tweeting about the clients they’ve worked with during the day.  However, there is a lot of searching, hashtaging, conference following, and online associations people engage with.  This is very telling in regards to what physicians are doing in their day-to-day lives, and how we might be able to affect some of the decision making.

 

And this is true not only around actually writing prescriptions, but those people who hold influence over policy inside organizations.  There are a lot of healthcare brands that are dealing with some very serious therapies that are truly beneficial.  In order to really gain scale in mass, companies need to begin to target not just the physicians who are writing prescriptions, but those who really have influence over what the organization does from a standards of care standpoint, as well as those people who hold influence over policy.

 

 

To the listen to the entire interview with Chris, please click here.

Accenture published a paper on the “Rebirth of the Pharmaceutical Sales Force”. Accenture states that he sales rep is not disappearing, but rather is evolving.  With a change in buyer profiles, the audience pharmaceutical reps are responsible for is becoming more complex.  This is especially true when you consider the role of Integrated Delivery Networks.  According to Accenture, IDNs own more than 60 percent of physician group practices.  It’s these IDNs that now define treatment protocols.

 

I reached out industry thought leader and Director at Nuvera Life Science Consulting, Brad Davidson.  As a social scientist with a background in linguistics and anthropology, Brad has studied the art and science of medicine and medical interactions, including rep interactions, in particular.  Now focused on helping companies optimize the customer experience, Brad was very frank about the role IDNs can and should play in optimizing that patient or caregiver experience.  We discussed the role of IDNs, their impact on pharma, and considerations for the industry moving forward. 14d43b8.jpg

 

What is the impact of IDNs on treatment?

We’ve always thought about the clinician as a decision-maker but they don’t make as many decisions as they used to. What people don’t fully understand is that we’re in an era of full on de-professionalization, where professionals can no longer act as they see fit in a vacuum. .    In the past, doctors selected doctors and doctors trained doctors, and doctors were free to prescribe however they wanted to prescribe—no one challenged them.  But today, doctors don’t run hospitals anymore, hospital administrators do.  The individual experts are no longer in charge of the decisions, the system increasingly is.  Today, even if the physician writes a prescription, if it’s not on label the patient likely won’t get it.

 

We’ve moved to a system-based process and we’ve come to despise expertise.  We’ve created a push-pull system where doctors have very little autonomy. The push is that doctors have become, essentially, employees in many cases, not independent professionals, and thisplays into therapy selection.  The pull is better data--companies can run real-world experiments in what works and what doesn’t, that extend beyond the limits of clinical trials and leverage financial modeling, health economics modeling, and experiential modeling.  No one doctor can keep up with all of these trials and all of this data.  You don’t want one physician treating patients eleven years behind the curve, and in an integrated system, you can’t do it anyway. To manage the emerging level of data, systems are needed for decision making.

 

What is the impact of IDNs on the sales model?

The industry as a whole is a laggard in making changes to their business model and is struggling with the transactional nature of the business.  Younger HCPs would rather self-educate via edetailing at home in the evening.  This leaves many companies wondering “how do we keep the field force busy?”

 

Small biotech companies are performing better because they didn’t grow up in the age of large sales forces free to walk the halls.  There are also some medical device companies that are getting back to a field force focus to train clinicians on device usage, because that fits an educational need. 

 

The big thing, I think, when selling to the IDNs is to be able to answer the “prove it” and “show me” questions that tend to be their response.  Pilot programs are trending as is the desire for content relevant to their interests.  There’s a huge gap in content delivered.  .

 

If pharmaceutical sales reps are going to succeed, they must be able to talk about experiential outcomes.

 

How can pharmaceutical companies adjust for the role of IDNs?

  1. Communicate more aggressively to patients.  Patients are taking more responsibility for their health and treatment.  They are researching their condition and evaluating treatment options.  Companies cannot discount the role of the patient.
  2. Talk to new audiences.   Companies that are best-in-class are dedicating resources and effort to identifying underutilized audiences.  There’s an example of one company that has an entire sales force targeted to pathologist. While the pathologists don’t make decisions, this company is trying to build relationships with those people who have lived in the hospital basement looking at slides because the tests pathologists run are determining treatment algorithms.  Remember that modeling is being done by payers, health economics research groups, and chief medical officers.  Influencers to those audience groups are key.
  3. Communicate to payers.  Communicate value regarding health data outcomes and budget impact models.  Call on new people and bring new data to the conversation.
  4. Improve your segmentation.  Consider segmentation by context.  Is your HCP audience constrained by formulary?  If so, don’t waste efforts on those outside of the approved formulary. Work more at a policy level.  Understand the decision-making algorithms about how and when to treat.

 

The shift in decision-making is having an impact on both the marketing and sales models for life science companies. More than ever, companies must segment, target, and personalize communications and educational information. Companies must understand the needs of defined audiences, and identify the opportunity in new audience segments. Sales must also have insight into the behavior and interests of each of these audiences, as well as the relationships across key influencers.

 

Brad concluded our discussion with this piece of advice; “We’re moving to algorithmic advice.  But it’s becoming impersonal.  The group that can tie algorithmic advice to personal experience will win.”

 

How is your organization working to personalize the oftentimes impersonal experience?

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VIEW SLIDESHARE

 

 

Patient centered full continuum care management

Healthcare organizations recognize that they must focus on the entire care management lifecycle.  To do this they must target communications around healthcare offerings.  Example: a company started a marketing campaign to target woman age 30-50 for their cosmetic procedure. Shortly after the campaign launched, the company realized a better target for their procedure is males over the age of 65. 

Organizations must also extend this life-cycle focus and care management content across multiple channels.  Google Think surveys found that 76% of patients were using hospital websites for research, compared to 32% using TV, 20% using magazines and 18% using newspapers. Of patients who found physicians and private practices on their mobile devices, 44% scheduled an appointment. Year-over-year the number of consumers using mobile devices to search for healthcare services increased 22%. 52% of smartphone users gather health-related information on their phones.

It’s imperative that healthcare organizations understand what content should be delivered to each audience segment, and across the appropriate channel.

 

The social/digital connection with physicians: 

Patients are leveraging social, and so are physicians.  This photosharing app for providers is a great example .  Like Instagram so providers can share cases (anonymously) and get provider feedback. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/10/tech/figure1-photos-medical-app/index.html

 

The following quotes summarize this succinctly;

Social engagement is no limited to the major channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  To meet regulatory risk concerns some organizations are building their own social platform that physicians can use to self-educate and engage with one another. You can’t control the conversation but you can be a part of it.  Utilize your advocates.  Be authentic. Remember that response is important.”- Shannon Hartley, Managing Partner, Healthcare Industry Leader Rosetta

“Not responding to a social post is like not answering the phone.  Some of our biggest mistakes were underestimating the volume as well as the commitment around the activity required.  Develop a digital scorecard.  Measure engagement. Evaluate the volume and response.  Begin to understand the sentiment around both your organization and your competitors.” - Darren Rodgers, SVP and CMO Healthcare Service Corporation

 

Alignment/employment  physician who understand today’s healthcare environment

Jackson Healthcare adopted a “give more than we ask” attitude which resulted in strong physician relationships and an engaged community.  With marketing automation technology you can better emerge as a Thought Leader. Survey and identify trends amongst physicians.  Drive Community Development. Recognize the best practices and successes in your community. Engage by Giving More than Getting.  Connect with research and proven best practices

 

Optum cracked into the c-suite through smart content marketing.

Optum has achieved what many organizations struggle with, they have successfully engaged with the C-Suite.  When launching their new Accountable Care Solution they revamped their content marketing efforts.  By identifying and mapping their content journey, Optum has connected, and engaged, with key decision makers by delivering the information they're most interested in.   And they've done this using a smart form strategy.  By developing a unified content journey consisting of 6 pieces, Optum established themselves as a trusted advisor in the arena of health reform.  Optum also focused their content efforts.  They targeted their content on organizations that were chosen by Medicare to participate in its Pioneer ACO pilot and its Medicare Shared Savings Program.  These efforts resulted in a 700% improvement in sales accepted leads.

 

Monitor physician relations advancement of hospital strategies and Monitor 360-degree physician activity

Healthcare organizations are working to access a 360-degree view of their relationship with the physicians. Organizations should track all activities related to the physicians, their affiliations, issues, comments and preferences and their referrals.  This information should be captured within CRM systems but also passed into marketing cloud technology to dictate segmentation and personalization. 

By capturing the explicit and implicit information across the integrated systems, organizations can monitor the performance of physician liaisons and referring physicians by viewing reports and dashboards. Analyze this data to understand how liaison activities are leading to referrals and commercial value.

 

“As quick as the patient wants information and feedback, physicians want it faster.  More and more physicians are using their mobile devices.  Clinicians are having text conversations with physicians via their mobile devices.  You must also commit understanding the needs of the patient in both content and content delivery.  For example, don’t overemphasize the value of videos.  Healthcare wants to build a video for everything, but videos don’t engage the patient.  Videos are often boring and disenfranchise the patient.” - Margaret Coughlin, SVP and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer with Boston Children’s Hospital

 

Analytical information

Support Your Decisions With Data.  Healthcare organizations can finally obtain that data insight to make smarter business decisions. By capturing and analyzing an individual’s Digital Body Language across all channels, companies cannot only develop that sought after universal profile but also understand things like cost of recruitment efforts, cost of acquiring new physicians, and effectiveness of their communication outreach across regions. 

Organizations can also begin to understand revenue potential.  You can see programs are not only driving the most engagement, but are also the most revenue.  You can also begin to understand which resources have the greatest potential to grow revenue and which are generating the greatest return on investment.  In short, you can identify which resources and programs to invest in. 

Through the development of strong content, unification of digital channels, and focus on data forensics healthcare organizations can grow revenue, increase quality without sacrificing volume, recruit and retain physicians, and make strategic business decisions based on fact, not opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


According to a report by IDC, sixty-eight percent of life science companies are expected to increase overall sales and marketing IT spending.  Additionally, total IT spend in the sales and marketing space is now exceeding $3 billion. And while it’s exciting to see life science companies making an investment in their sales and marketing initiatives, many are not thoroughly qualifying their objectives before making these long-term investments.

 

Without base-lining current programs and defining future objectives and KPIs, many companies may find they’ve implemented a solution that doesn’t meet their needs and deliver the customer experience they desired.

 

Below are 32 questions for life science companies to answer as they consider future marketing and sales technology investments.

 

  1. What is our current focus and effort, as well as desired focus and effort, across clinicians, patients, caregivers, payers, hospitals, pharmacies, and policymakers? 
  2. When targeting clinicians are we focusing on a specialist or the entire care team involved in treatment? 
  3. What programs do we currently execute to educate and influence clinicians about our services and offerings? 
  4. What programs do we currently execute to educate, support, and enable patients in both the pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis stages?  BL_0811_WrBk1-art.jpg
  5. What is the performance of each of our programs across each persona?
  6. Which offers engage each persona, and do these offers vary by need, or are we simply offering coupons across the board?
  7. Have we audited and mapped our content to each persona and journey?
  8. Have we defined our content gaps and developed a plan for further content development?
  9. How do we approach formulary approval and what programs, if any, do we execute to the payer audience?
  10. Do we focus on organic list development, or do we rely entirely on rented lists for HCPs?
  11. How do we build lists organically for patients via inbound marketing efforts (blogs, display ads, portals) or do they rely on referrals from HCPs?
  12. We link to non-branded disease awareness websites.  Have we clearly defined what role these sites play in our communication strategy?
  13. We talk about improving our social media initiatives. Do we want to use social to build disease communities, deliver wellness programs, educate on drug development, increase brand awareness or are the social channels more for sharing corporate information?
  14. What are our “offers” used to drive digital ad conversion in publications and are they targeted for that publication’s audiences?
  15. What are our hit rates?  What web traffic is coming from each channel?  Do we know who are visitors are, how long they stay, where they navigate to, and which pages they bounce from?
  16. Which links and offers are driving the most conversions to each brand?  Are we converting to a brand page or to a corporate page?
  17. Have we defined the journey for each of our audiences?  How does the journey for HCPs, patients, caregivers and payers differ for those brands?
  18. Are we segmenting communications based on data like sales rep, region, CME due date, state licensed, primary specialty, school, advisory board member, disease, medication adherence behavior, patient community, or clinical research participation?
  19. Are we personalizing our communications and targeting offers based on state licensed, sample program, CME due date, primary specialty, advisory board member, disease, medication adherence behavior, patient community, or clinical research participation?
  20. Are we evaluating metrics and reporting around communication performance by region, specialty, sales rep, disease, clinical trial, and medication?
  21. Are we evaluating metrics and reporting for advocate referral opportunity by region, specialty, advisory board participation, and school?
  22. What has been the adoption rate of previous marketing and sales technology?  Why have some systems succeeded, and others failed?
  23. Which marketing technologies and products are we currently using?
  24. What is our main goal in utilizing marketing technologies?
  25. How do our marketing technologies currently work together?
  26. What’s working well?  What would we like to work better?
  27. How is data integrated into our current marketing process?
  28. What is the biggest challenge we are facing with our efforts?
  29. Which initiatives are currently prioritized in our company?
  30. What results do we want to see over the coming 12 months?
  31. Should we consider a digital marketing center of excellence?
  32. How do we define success?  What are those KPIs we want to point to as a marketing organization?  Does our technology allow us to report on those segmented metrics as well as C-Level metrics?

 

The 32 questions may be very easy for some companies to answer, but difficult for others.  Not all questions may apply to each company, and there are certainly many more considerations for companies as they evaluate resource and budget requirements.

 

What these questions should do is jog the strategic mind of life science marketers.  Ensure there is a firm understanding of baseline programs and performance, and defined direction for future initiatives and KPIs.

 

As you consider future marketing and sales investment, what questions would you add to the list?

It Started With A Hernia

My Husband had double hernia surgery.  While I'm sure he's thrilled I'm sharing that information, his experience was a fascinating in-the-field research study for me.  Once his surgery was scheduled, all pre-surgical paperwork and registration occurred online, a week before the procedure.  The payer coverage was confirmed, data was captured, and medical history was documented. The morning of the surgery we arrived at the hospital and were taken right back to the pre-op room where pre-op procedures began.  With the exception of a few verification questions, no additional paperwork was required and everything in the hospital's system was accurate and up-to-date. 64-IMG_8302.JPG

 

As they administered his IV and took vitals, a video played on the large TV in his room explaining the procedure, the process of administering the anesthesia, and what to expect after recovery.  After he was wheeled back I could order his prescription from the same TV and have it delivered to the room.  Throughout the procedure I would receive calls to my cell, from the surgery staff, providing updates.  I could also watch a screen that would provide a status update (using a patient code) of where he was in pre-surgery, prep, operations, recovery, and post-op. Once released, we received discharge instructions in paper form that were also available on the portal.  Over the next few days my Husband could log on to the portal, see test results, and post questions to his surgeon for follow-up.

 

But It Stopped With The Discharge

But that's where the seamless patient experience ended.  Once we left the hospital, all proactive communications ended.  My Husband had a series of side effects but when he posted his questions to the portal, he never heard back.  His test results were never posted.  He found out the results a week and a half later at a follow-up appointment. And at the follow-up appointment there were no FAQs provided, or a physician discussion guide offered, to help him get the most out of his visit.

 

Like most experiences, communication tends to falter in the "post-event" process.  One industry is starting to improve on this experience.

 

A Lesson Learned From Sports Entertainment

Sports Entertainment has developed a focus on the "driveway to driveway fan experience".  This is the experience a fan has from the time they leave home, to their time spent at the stadium, to their return home. Sports teams are driving engagement with fans through communications focused on a fan's favorite player, favorite opponent, birthday, or other personal data.

 

By leveraging the data on the fan these sports teams can send targeted promotions via SMS before the fan leaves for the game.  Once at the game the stadium can send push communications based on personal preferences, stadium purchases, and game activity.  As the fan leaves the stadium follow-up communications, surveys, offers, and game highlights can be shared with the fan through email, social media, and SMS. Many sports teams have noticed a marked improvement in ticket purchases, season ticket subscription renewals, and NPS improvements.

 

A Driveway-To-Driveway Experience

The hospital got the pre-surgery and procedure communications right.  But they should've focused on the entire driveway-to-driveway experience.  Noting that my Husband has a history of adverse reactions to anesthesia could've triggered a follow-up email about possible side effects, like back pain. Having a nurse call that evening or the next day could've alleviated concern over pain and side effects of the pain medication.  Responding to the posted questions on the patient portal could've eliminated inbound calls to the nurse team and unnecessary follow-up visits.

 

While the hospital isn't looking for us to be "returning guests" like a sports team, they are concerned with re-admittance rates that can result from improper post-op care. The hospital does care about patient satisfaction scores, NPS, and developing advocates that can result in referrals and donations.  Through a driveway-to-driveway program, hospitals can generated their desired results, and patients can experience the continued care and follow-up required after leaving the hospital.

 

How are you developing a driveway-to-driveway experience for your patients?

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VIEW SLIDESHARE

Awareness and recognition, presentation and diagnosis, treatment selection, brand selection and access, switching and persistency.  Those are the phases of the patient journey as practiced by many companies.  And that's a good patient-centric journey to follow, but is there something missing?  According to the Industry Healthcheck 2014 report, 85% of respondents agree that patient-centricity is the best route to future profitability.  And many companies are adjusting their strategy to focus on that patient journey. Through mobile applications, drug conversion and medication adherence programs, and patient portals, pharmaceutical companies are working to provide content that guides the patient through a journey.

But it's important to remember that each patient is unique in how their condition changes over time.  Healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies must align to communicate to the patient the right information at the right stage of disease progression.  As a pharmaceutical organization you must become that information concierge. You must help facilitate the conversations between the patients and HCPs.  By enabling the patient to self-advocate and educating the HCPs on therapies and pre and post therapy wellness services, you can become this facilitator.  This is what will gain favor and access to the those hard to see HCPs.


So let's look at some best practices and examples of how to effectively educate, enable, and facilitate.


Ensure your key message meets the needs of the patients at each specific point in their disease progression

If you have a prostate cancer patient recently diagnosed, offer him support through a patient advocacy network.  If the patient is beginning radiation or chemotherapy treatments offer informative content developed by compatible POLs as well as recipes for meals that will alleviate nausea.

Janssen Healthcare has created several "Care4Today" programs.  These programs provide support that extends throughout the entire patient journey.  Their mental health solutions provide support for both the healthcare team (staff, administrators, and implementation managers) and patients from diagnosis to ongoing management. They offer patient and facilitator workbooks and videos, web and mobile tools, reminder services, and outcome analysis. Their objective is to educate everyone that's a part of the journey to reduce relapse and re-hospitalization.


Understand that a strong inbound strategy is necessary to drive engagement with patients, and this cannot occur alone

Healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies must align to provide the best care and support to the patient.  In the case of Bayer's drug, Xofigo, they decided on a micro-approach.  They focused on 41 comprehensive cancer hospitals across Canada.  They implemented a key account management approach.  Bayer also developed workshops to educate the entire treatment team from HCPs to hospital administrators on radiation safety and technology. Work with these HCPs to deliver the content required for patient support.


Enable patients to self-educate about impending condition experiences before they occur

Deliver an FAQ sheet. This should contain information on common questions asked by patients of the disease. It should also contain a list of questions the patient should ask to the HCP during their next visit.  Shift from a marketing mindset to that of a facilitator of helpful information.  You no longer market and brand your drug, you connect patients and caregivers with information that helps and heals. 

An example of fantastic patient-centric content can be found on Genentech's Rheumatoid Arthritis site. Every piece of content on this site is written with the patient in mind. In fact, most of the content is written by actual RA patients.  You can read each of their bios under the "Meet the Experts" section.   Patients can find how-to videos on cooking with RA, daily inspirational quotes published by patients, community polls requesting input on future site development, expectations around lifestyle adjustment, healthy tips and advice for staying productive.  There's an "Around the Home" section that provides advice on setting up the kitchen, fashion tips, and easy to use household tools for RA patients. The site also provides content for the families and caregivers as well as doctor discussion content.  Every "offer" on the site is educational in nature.  The only form on the site does not lead to drug information, rather it offers a treatment tracking journal.  This helpful content also extends to their brand site. Their use of infographics provides perspective around the condition.

 

Develop healthy living communications that educate both patients and caregivers on proper diet, exercise and medication consumption

These communications should be very specific to the disease of the patient as well as the disease stage of the patient.  Exercise and diet restrictions will vary by disease and condition stage and this communication must be adjusted accordingly.  Also consider a medication notification form.  This form should allow patients and caregivers to set-up alerts for medication email reminders and track medication adherence in a format that can be easily shared with the HCP.

Apps are a fantastic way to deliver interactive content that promotes healthy lifestyles and medication adherence.  Bayer has an app to help MS patients manage meds.  Novartis' oncology division produced a few apps too, such as My Acro Manager to help patients with Acromegaly track test results, medication updates and improve their knowledge of their condition.  Medication adherence apps and a tool to track symptoms from HIV treatment are among Merck's apps.  Many of these apps are also utilized by HCPs.  In fact over 50% of healthcare apps are accessed by HCPs.  Top apps include HCP tools and medical reference guides.  These apps serve several purposes.  They provide the sales organizations with a value-based offer.  They empower the patients and HCPs to self-educate and become their own advocate.  They capture the interaction with the app.  These companies are collecting that important insight to better service their audience and drive the direction of their content creation.

 

The Patient Journey Possibilities

 

Patients expect more from their healthcare experience; a movement toward consumerism like applying the Amazon experience toward healthcare.  Although the end to end experience, we're all not their yet; patients, consumers, providers.  But as health innovations increase and advance, just like any adoption cycle, we anticipate the same for the overall healthcare experience starting with the first steps to address a connected patient experience, with a likely scenario that its by brand or product right now.  We also can start to hypothesize about how all these brand experiences can intersect in the future.

 

A patient doesn't think "How can this product help me", they are looking for the answer to "how can I get better/healthier overall?"  This leaves the opportunity for us to look at how we can connect the overall healthcare experience all together. Just imagine a world where your health experience connects the dots from your provider, the prescriptions you buy, the retail OTC products you purchase.  If this experience can be stitched together to deliver you healthier life options, how attractive is that overall?

One of the most talked about trends in marketing is Account Based Marketing.  Unlike more traditional targeting where you focus on an industry, product, or channel, ABM brings everything together to focus on specific accounts.  Companies develop frameworks, scoring, measurements, and alignment tactics to support this strategy.  One of the greatest benefits of ABM is a focused effort that extends beyond awareness, through demand generation, into nurturing, and eventually advocacy.

 

But this leaves many in the life sciences space feeling eliminated from an effective marketing approach and wondering what more they can do to drive relevant communications and align and support their sales organization.  In truth, what drives ABM implementation is very relevant in life sciences.  These pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies are looking to gather intelligence, drive demand, encourage conversion, and identify new advocates.

 

So how can life science companies implement an account based marketing program when they don't market to traditional "accounts?"

 

What Classifies As An Account?

One of the first steps in the ABM process is defining the universe of accounts to be targeted.  It's within this first step that many life science companies give up because they're not sure how to define accounts.  But if we broaden our definition of accounts beyond individuals working within the same organization, then we can begin to identify ABM opportunity.  For example, a life science company may want to target all physicians within the same ACO, or perhaps cardiologists operating out of the same hospital, or maybe even all endocrinologists in a region that accept the same payer insurance. 56-images.jpg

 

What Are My Account Requirements?

With the "accounts" defined you can now begin to identify the commonalities and difference tied to their drivers, challenges, and interests.  This should require a fair amount of research to understand requirements.  You can consult prior Digital Body Language that aligns with the personas of those accounts and identify the journey and supporting content that best aligns with their interests.  It's important to remember that the engagement and interests of these "accounts" will vary, and not just by specialty.  A physician associated with an ACO will probably take a greater interest in patient impact and satisfaction than one that still remains in private practice.  The value-content you deliver to a provider who accepts BCBS versus Anthem will also vary depending on your relationship with the payer.

 

What Do I Measure and Score?

Equipped with this information you can now begin to plan marketing activities that align with the objectives of sales and the larger business.  Ensure that your sales and marketing teams align to the campaign framework as well as the agreed upon scoring models and processes for follow-up. You'll want to measure account revenue potential, account communication coverage and engagement, and sales activity corresponding to each account.

 

How you measure and score these accounts will also vary depending on whether your ABM strategy is tied to intelligence and clinical research gathering, brand awareness development, decile prescription conversion, edetail or CME nurturing, or KOL advocacy. Ideally, your ABM strategy should flow beyond awareness and demand creation and into post-customer lifecycle stages.

 

Building out the framework for each of these steps takes time, as does executing an effective ABM program.  But with a greater understanding of how the broader ABM framework can be applied to life sciences, now you can execute step 1 and move further through the strategy development process.  If you're looking for more detailed information on building ABM frameworks I recommend you consult the information provided by SiriusDecisions.  If you're interested in exploring account based marketing application in the life sciences space I'm happy to field any questions you might have.

 

How do you envision applying ABM in a life sciences company?

PWC published a report outlining the Top Health Industry Issues of 2015.  As the health and life sciences industries continue to merge, the focus of these organizations is on the patient.  Health and life science companies want to better support and advocate for patients across all channels, especially digital channels.  This continued evolution across these industries is allowing marketers to take on a greater role in developing content that meets the needs of all audiences, delivering communications across the channels that matter most, and providing the personalized health experience required by patients, caregivers, providers, and even payers.

 

Below are some of the top health industry challenges, and recommendations for how marketers can work to address each one.

 

Do-it yourself healthcare

Patients are owning more responsibility for their healthcare.  They're becoming their own advocates.  Just as treatment and medications are focusing on the individual, it's imperative communications follow suit and support the needs of each individual.  For example, let's look at medication adherence communications.

 

Medication adherence programs have evolved from the "take 2 and call me in the morning" practice, to more advanced apps that remind you it's time to take your medication.  Many applications now provide reminders around medication consumption, diet, and exercise on the channel which you prefer.  But just as medications need to be adjusted for the variances in individual chemistry, adherence programs need to be adjusted to the individual.

 

Lifestyle has an effect on how frequently someone can consume medications, the hours in a week they can exercise, and the caregiver support available.  The issue is not always "are you taking the prescription?" but instead "are you taking the prescription the way it was prescribed?" Medication adherence programs must certainly account for preferences in communication distribution, but also must manage the dynamic content accompanying these personalized medication and wellness regimes.

 

Balancing privacy and convenience, especially the impact on mobile apps 48-health_IT.jpg

Apps are a fantastic way to deliver interactive content that promotes healthy lifestyles and medication adherence.  Bayer has an app to help MS patients manage meds.  Novartis' oncology division produced a few apps too, such as My Acro Manager to help patients with Acromegaly track test results, medication updates and improve their knowledge of their condition.  Medication adherence apps and a tool to track symptoms from HIV treatment are among Merck's apps.

 

Many of these apps are also utilized by HCPs.  In fact over 50% of healthcare apps are accessed by HCPs.  Top apps include HCP tools and medical reference guides. These apps empower the patients and HCPs to self-educate and become their own advocate. Capturing engagement with the app can allow companies to collect important insight to better service their audience and drive the direction of their R&D and content creation.

 

However, while these apps are a convenience to the patient, and benefit to the provider and pharma company, it's important to understand the role privacy plays.

 

73% of consumers state data security matters more to them than convenience.  As you develop your communication strategy, align your marketing, IT, and compliance teams.  Understand regulations, what those regulations actually regulate, what they do and do not prohibit, and know the cost of non-compliance.  Recognize there are no data tricks and question your technology vendors.

 

High cost patients and putting a price on positive outcomes

The role healthcare organizations play in patient care is evolving because healthcare organizations are owning provider education which ultimately impacts the quality and efficiency of patient care.  This is especially true when you consider Accountable Care Organizations.  One of the key challenges for hospitals and physicians is that the incentives in ACOs are to reduce hospital stays, emergency room visits and expensive specialist and testing services.  This is a dramatic shift when you consider this is the way hospitals and physicians have made money in fee-for-service systems.

 

Healthcare organizations are making a commitment to provider education.  Provider education is instrumental in delivering efficient and quality patient care.  Organizations are working to empower providers, as well as patients, with the delivery and coordination of care.  Learn how Baylor is developing programs around provider education.


Open everything to everyone

Patients are concerned over the relationships between pharmaceutical companies and providers, and that concern is contributing to a lack of trust.  Pharma companies and providers must align around the patient and provide communications and content that support both the patient journey and patient experience.

 

Ensure your key message meets the needs of the patients at each specific point in their disease progression.  Understand that a strong inbound strategy is necessary to drive engagement with patients, and this cannot occur alone.  Enable patients to self-educate about impending condition experiences before they occur.  Deliver an FAQ sheet. This should contain information on common questions asked by patients of the disease. It should also contain a list of questions the patient should ask to the HCP during their next visit.  Shift from a marketing mindset to that of a facilitator of helpful information.  You no longer market and brand your drug, you connect patients and caregivers with information that helps and heals.  Develop healthy living communications that educate both patients and caregivers on proper diet, exercise and medication consumption.

 

Getting to know the newly insured and partnering to win across the ecosystem

Both providers and payers are responsible for getting to know the 10 million newly insured.  Individualized care must be communicated back through the entire care ecosystem.  It's not just multichannel communications that must be managed, but also multi-relationship communications that must exist amongst HCPs, providers, payers, and pharma.  Systems must exist that facilitate the visibility and transparency of data, ultimately working together to help the patient.  Identify opportunities to communicate with the patient throughout the entire healthcare ecosystem. Segment and target communications based on both the multichannel data, as well as the multi-relationship profiles. Ensure you're matching communications with preferences, interests, lifestyle, and individualized care

 

As the healthcare industry continues to expand across new audiences and new channels, marketing will be required to step-up how they manage communications.  Healthcare marketers must understand each audience, provide personalized and relevant content to each individual, deliver communications across a plethora of channels, and do all of this while remaining compliant.

 

How is your healthcare organization adjusting communication programs to compensate for the continued changes?

The life science industry spends billions of dollars on drug promotion, medical device training, sales recruitment and onboarding, and the development of patient and advocate communities.  And to support all of those efforts, a great deal of time and money is invested into content development.

 

Content is a wise investment, I don't disagree.  However, I do have to question whether companies truly evaluate the effectiveness of their content investment.  And if budget cuts are required, can these companies identify which content resources, creators, and channels should be eliminated?

 

Below are 6 considerations for measuring content effectiveness.

 

  1. Look beyond standard conversion metrics. Identifying which pieces convert into eDetail opportunities or prescription conversions is important, but don't underestimate evaluating what content is revisited, the duration of content engagement, and the origin of the engagement.  Also evaluate under-performing content.  Is the message off-point?  Are you publishing the content on a channel not frequented by the target audience?
  2. Audit and map your content.  Identify both personal and non-personal content.  Map the content to the intended audience both by high level personas like patients, caregivers, HCPs, and payers as well as interest like disease, specialty, and decile level.  Matrix the content type against the persona, interest, as well as the stage.  Is the content meant for pre-awareness, awareness, trial, adoption, or advocacy stages? 42-mobiledevices.png
  3. Measure and score your content contributors. Because you're investing large portions of your budget into content creation, understand what the engagement against individual contributors looks like.  Do you have agencies that consistently deliver high performing content?  Additionally, don't overextend content contributors like Key Opinion Leaders and Patient Opinion Leaders.  When a company manages many brands and many content initiatives, it's very easy to lose track of content assignments. It's imperative that content strategy and resource allocation is managed through a single Center of Excellence.  Without that single CoE, you risk the abuse of your greatest content assets. This CoE can also align with the compliance organization to ensure content meets requirements.
  4. Incorporate metrics into your content marketing strategy.  Identify the business objectives for each.  Define both internal benchmarks and external benchmarks.  Business objectives, metrics, available data, and data sources should drive this benchmarking.
  5. Calculate the ROI of your content marketing.  We recommend the following formulas for this calculation.
    • Investment
      • � (hours per month for creating content x hourly pay) + overhead rate (%) + other out-of-pocket costs (software, design, etc?) = investment
      • � Example: (20 hours x $40/hour) + 30% overhead + $500/month other costs = $1,540
    • Return
      • � Leads per month x lead conversion rate (%) x average life customer value ($) x average profit margin = Return
      • � Example 20 x 20% x $2,000 x 25% = $2,000
    • ROI
      • � ($2,000 - $1,540) / $1,540 = 30%
  6. Don't go it alone.  I speak from experience.  I used to manage content effectiveness through a very cumbersome Excel spreadsheet.  With the help of several team members and several days a month, we would manually execute the tactics listed above.  There are now tools that allow you to audit, map, and score your content.  You can measure content effectiveness, assign content projects, and control content project overload.  These tools allow you to plan, produce, publish, promote, and prove your content strategy success.

 

Content will continue to be a wise investment for your company as long as you can demonstrate the value of that investment.

 

Do you know the value of your content?

There's no question that policy changes have had tremendous impact on the healthcare system.  These changes can be felt through the provider and HCP networks, payer organizations, pharmacies, and especially the patient population.  These new policies are holding everyone accountable.  The provider and HCP networks are accountable for the quality of care, payers and pharmacies are tasked with balancing quality care with achievable cost savings, and patients own more responsibility in their own adherence care as well.  As someone stated, "we've moved from a volume based healthcare system to value based healthcare system".

 

We are seeing a shift in healthcare from a population approach to an individual approach.  With the data now available, and the policies now in place, healthcare is beginning to focus on each individual patient.

 

Personalized Pharmacy Care

One of the best examples of this individualized focus can be seen in compound pharmacies.  Compound pharmacies develop customized medication care for each individual.  The development of individualized prescriptions accounts for multiple variances like other medications prescribed, height, weight, body type, diet, lifestyle, even flavor.  Pharmacies recognize that the chemistry of each individual varies greatly and medications must be adjusted to account for these variances.  Additionally, instructions and patient follow-up communications must be personalized, accounting for the differences in side effects, prescription care, and adherence. 37-compounding_pharmacist.jpg

 

Customized Adherence Programs

But just as treatment and medications are focusing on the individual, its imperative communications follow suit and support the needs of each individual.  For example, let's look at medication adherence communications.  Medication adherence programs have evolved from the "take 2 and call me in the morning" practice, to more advanced apps that remind you it's time to take your medication.  Many applications now provide reminders around medication consumption, diet, and exercise on the channel which you prefer.  But just as medications need to be adjusted for the variances in individual chemistry, adherence programs need to be adjusted to the individual.

 

Lifestyle has an effect on how frequently someone can consume medications, the hours in a week they can exercise, and the caregiver support available.  The issue is not always "are you taking the prescription?" but instead "are you taking the prescription the way it was prescribed?" Medication adherence programs must certainly account for preferences in communication distribution, but also must manage the dynamic content accompanying these personalized medication and wellness regimes.

 

Multichannel and Multi-relational

This individualized care must finally be communicated back through the entire care ecosystem.  It's not just multichannel communications that must be managed, but also multi-relationship communications that must exist amongst HCPs, providers, payers, and pharma.  Systems must exist that facilitate the visibility and transparency of data, ultimately working together to help the patient.

 

Identify opportunities to communicate with the patient throughout the entire healthcare ecosystem. Segment and target communications based on both the multichannel data, as well as the multi-relationship profiles. Ensure you're matching communications with preferences, interests, lifestyle, and individualized care.

 

Each individual in the life science ecosystem is accountable for the care of patients. Understand your role and responsibility and map your communications to others.

 

How are you moving from a population approach to and individual healthcare approach?

The state of pharmaceutical sales is in flux.  The instability in the pharmaceutical space has caused companies to make cuts, and sales has been greatly impacted. Reports from SDI Health indicate that the number of sales representatives in the United States has decreased from a high of 101,818 to about 81,780, representing a 20% decline. Equally important is that the cost per engagement for sales calls remains high, ranging from $142 to nearly $600 per call.

 

These costs are forcing sales to perfect their field efforts.  Sales must understand where to allocate field resources, and equip them with the knowledge to provide a valuable engagement to the HCPs. Marketing must identify which practices and physicians they should target with eDetail and eSample programs. 30-doctor-money-300x195.jpg

 

HCP-Centric Sales Model

Because of this change, many companies are shifting from a brand-centric to HCP-centric sales models.  Reps are covering more territory and carrying more products.  They have to have a tremendous understanding of the service and value of each product. Now, targeting and focusing sales effort is becoming paramount.  Pharmaceutical companies must understand the Digital Body Language of physicians and practices.  It's imperative reps enter the call knowing what the HCP wants, and with the required education to manage the knowledge share.

 

Hybrid Sales Model

Another emerging sales model is the "hybrid" sales representative. Hybrid representatives have defined geographic territories and specific sets of target HCPs, just like typical field representatives. But they reach their physicians through a variety of channels like face-to-face, phone, and video and at times, like work day, after hours, weekends, which are preferred and most convenient for each physician. This model is proving to be very popular with physicians; 72% of survey respondents want "more" or "significantly more" hybrid representatives calling on them.

 

So with these new models, how do pharmaceutical companies know which practices to target with field sales versus eDetailing and eSampling programs?  How do sales and marketing know when to target, who to target, and what information is most relevant to the practice?

 

Multichannel Targeting

Just as companies leverage multichannel marketing to engage and educate, they must also implement multichannel targeting.  Targeting needs to extend beyond the singular data found in marketing automation.  Currently, reps are told when to target a physician or practice based on their Digital Body Language. Marketing evaluates which marketing assets they clicked on, how much time they spent on a webpage page, and what information was submitted via a form. And while these traditional scoring models are a vast improvement from cold calling a list of names, they?re not as targeted as they could be.

 

Now, tools like Lattice Engines enable the marketing and sales organizations to identify which accounts to engage for selling and retention. Lattice introduces other analytics into your scoring model.  They look at the practices' growth indicators, news events, activity against 3rd party assets, and funding or grants received by the physician or practices.

 

Using Lattice's modeling engine, companies can also pull in data from internal systems to evaluate prescription patterns, brand sample orders, products prescribed by practice, detailing history, and program enrollment.  Companies can also evaluate the behavior of similar practices, like pediatric practices, oncology practices, and cardiology practices.

 

Predictive Behavior

This multichannel targeting provides advanced insight into the probability of the physician to prescribe prescriptions.  By creating likelihood rules, sales reps can identify which practices to target for new prescriptions and decile conversions.

 

Marketing can understand which content will contribute to that prescription conversion.  Marketing can also compare practices in similar selling situations.  Marketing can the aggregate the view and format it so it's most relevant to the sales person.

 

This multichannel targeting allows marketing and sales to focus engagement and drive entry into marketing programs, like eDetailing and eSampling programs.  Pharmaceutical companies can now begin to model channel preference, develop segmentation strategies, manage sales resource allocation, and develop a contact strategy.

 

Which channels do you evaluate when developing a contact strategy?

Managed Healthcare Executive recently published an article entitled "The Future of Formularies".  The article states that specialty drugs are expected to account for 50% of all drug costs by 2018 and that formularies will hold more relevance and impact as the number of older adults and insured individuals through the Affordable Care Act increases.

 

Pharmaceutical companies must begin to adjust their communication strategies around these future changes. A few areas that will see the greatest impact are targeting disease communications to unknown patients, contributions in the offloading of medication costs, and reinforcement of medication adherence.

 

Below are recommendations on how pharmaceutical companies can begin to address those challenges.

 

Disease Awareness Targeting

When reviewing and analyzing the future trends in formularies, John Mackowiak, VP Pharmacy  and Education for the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, emphasizes the need to focus on diseases awareness targeting.

 

"Tier 5 is extremely costly but may save money in the long run.  For example, the new Hepatitis C drugs may prevent a costly liver transplant; on the other hand many will live with dormant Hep C and never need the new medications.  How do we find out who needs these drugs and provide them in the nick of time to offset expenses?"

 

Pharmaceutical companies must have technology in place to capture disparate data as well as staffing that can make sense of it. Pharmaceutical marketers must succeed at driving strong inbound traffic through the development of disease education content.  Marketers must convert that inbound traffic through affordability and adherence programs on patient portals.  And further communications must be segmented, targeted, and personalized to the Digital Body Language of each individual patient and caregiver.  And this must all be accomplished in real-time. 29-01how-healthcare-reform-helps-savvy-article-3773.jpg

 

Medication Affordability

According to a report by Consumer Health, it's estimated that 46% of the people in the United States take at least one prescription drug. This means that there were 3.3 billion prescriptions dispensed in 2006. The total cost of all of these prescriptions was $192 billion. The average cost to fill one prescription with a brand name drug is approximately $111.02, while a generic prescription averages $32.23. This means that you would have to pay over THREE times as much for a brand name drug than as a generic one.

 

Pharmaceutical companies must educate the patient and the physician on the efficacy of their drug, as well as provide cost-alternative solutions. By providing physician and patient discussion guides around efficacy and drug alternatives, as well as providing co-pay programs, pharmaceutical companies can gain awareness and favor with both physicians and patients.

 

Bob Taketomo, President of Ventegra, recommends "adopting strategies to keep drugs affordable, while ensuring that patients can access what they need -- a move toward more deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and flat co-payments, along with stronger management of deductibles and coinsurance."

 

Leverage co-pay programs. There is an 18% increase in adherence when co-pay programs are offered.  Utilize patient portals as places to educate as well provide opportunities for patients to request samples, coupons, and co-pay programs.  With the change in formularies there will be "additional emphasis on co-payments, along with stronger management of deductibles and coinsurance".

 

Medication Adherence

Pharmaceutical companies recognize that there is a lack of medication adherence. They must develop communications that generate awareness of medication compliance and tools available for healthy living and disease management like medication tracking tools.  They must work with HCPs and payers to communicate the risk and rising cost impacted by non-adherence.   This is especially true when targeting the use of expensive specialty drugs.

 

Pharmaceutical companies must give consideration to developing healthy living communications that educate both patients and caregivers on proper dieting, exercising and taking medication.  These communications should be very specific to the disease of the patient.  Companies should also provide a medication notification form.  This form should allow patients and caregivers to set-up alerts for medication email reminders.  It's also important for companies to leverage multiple forms of communication.  Extend beyond email and leverage other tools like SMS.  These SMS communications, much like the emails, should be sent regularly, based on the medication notification form submission, reminding the contact to take medication as indicated.

 

David Calabrese, RPh, MHP, VP and Chief Pharmacy Officer, Catamaran states, "We manage drugs from an overall care management perspective and if consumers receive what they need, take them correctly and receive appropriate follow-up, medications can deliver value".

 

How is your company preparing for the future of formularies?

We all know that marketing's primary objective is to assist in driving revenue.  But for many life sciences companies that becomes secondary because of competing projects and constantly managing through the compliance minefield.

 

Many organizations are also implementing new sales processes and working with marketing and sales organizations with low tenure.  Life Sciences marketers struggle to support multiple brands and sales organizations efficiently. Marketers often become reactive to the needs of their teams and sales organizations are tied to the pace of the marketing department.

 

Marketing needs to become agile and proactive in the support, education, and enablement of their sales teams.

 

Start with the stars

Avoid launching new initiatives at the end of a fiscal quarter.  Schedule a review of new programs with your top performing reps, at the beginning of the sales quarter, and preferably when they are in the office.  Focus on the top performing reps because they are more apt to embrace new solutions to aid in their efforts.  If they have success others will soon follow.

 

Feed them bites, not meals

The last thing sales wants is another tool they "have to use" simply because its part of the process and the company needs that information, on record, from the sales team. While tools and technology are great, roll out one solution at a time, and only after the sales team sees positive results from the previous tool.

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Don't just explain, demonstrate the value

Merely explaining the benefits of sales tools will not equate to adoption.  Identify the top sales opportunities for those reps and showed them the activity against those contacts in CRM.  With the right tools sales can see form submission data, view marketing content, and set-up web alerts for specific contacts.  This will get their attention.  Eliminate the complaint that sales doesn't know what marketing's doing. Provide the forensic evidence of their contacts? activity so sales can approach their contacts better educated. Sometime you'll need to be proactive. Send reports to the sales organization with the results of their account activity.  As the sales teams began to see engagement you will see traction with the sales teams.

 

 

Work together, sell together

Many companies know that activity within their database is occurring, but that activity is often occurring as unknown visitor activity.  Use your sales teams to assist in converting unknown activity to known activity.  Because they communicate one-on-one they have a higher chance of conversion.  Develop messaging together that is determined by conversations that occur between sales and contacts.  As you continue to demonstrate support of sales efforts, the sales organization will begin to open its door.  The sales people will become much more comfortable sharing the successes and failures of various messages and campaigns.

 

Show them you care

Develop weekly "care packages"for your sales teams.  Each week provide suggested email templates your sales people can utilize.  In that template outline a key message for the week along with a corresponding blog entry and offer like a white paper, eBook, podcast, or webinar that supports that key message.  Allow them to customize their communication around this key message based on the conversation that occurred with the contact.  Not only does this result in more valuable conversation, but your sales members engage with this material and are learning as well.

 

Repetition + Reinforcement  = Retention

Reinforcing the value of the exercises above can be a challenge.  Consider creating an online tutorial for your sales team.  This can be done by recording a webex or even using a learning management system.  When developed in a LMS you can extend beyond basic tutorials and walk the teams through exercises and tests.  Additionally, sales managers can see how their teams perform and where they need assistance.  Ensure this is training reps can also refer back to and walk through the exercises again at any time.

 

How are you aligning your sales and marketing organizations?